Report from Springfield, IL (Received February 13, 2000 from Brad Shivey
8th airforce. 19th Bomber Group
Flight officer Jim Mack, pilot of Sweet New Orleans
Our flight of 12 B-I 7gs were running decoy for a large bomber attack on Frankfort - we were to fly a diverging route to Munich then break off and hit Stuttgart, another damned me-109 plant. I always got a good feeling about bombing 109 plants. a Me-109 had killed my original ball turret gunner. Our flight had some friends for company, three P-51 s. Those guys sure made us feel better.
As we got closer to the target we could see the bandits forming up ahead. I could see two of those twin engine Me-410s, that always meant rockets. They were usually so inaccurate we didn't fear them, but when they hit you were done for. I saw six bandits in all, those 41Os with four FW 190s. As I called out the bandits to the other bomber box I saw the trails of the rockets, even a pair of 190s were firing them. The rockets missed my Wing by inches and blew up in the middle of our formation."To little to late" really got hit hard.
As the bandits flew at us, our escort,Captain Fisherand his lone p-51 (his Wngman had to abort due to a bad rudder) sped to meet the threat. A Me-410 got behind and below the flight and let loose with all their guns. An armor piercing shell hit "Too Little to Late" right in the bomb bay, setting off a 500 pounder. One minute it was there the next it was a black cloud of destruction. No one got out, they didn't have time. 10 men eliminated in one second.
I saw Fisher tailing the other Me-41O. He let loose with a long burst and the 410 nosed down and flew for the deck. I guess rockets were his specialty, not dogfighting, because I did not see him again. As my crew called out bandits, I realized they were only attacking our formation not the other box. As we flew on, two 190's really gave it to "Liffle Devil". He called me to say he had three dead crewmen and a plane full of holes and that he could barely keep straight. He was diving and was going to try to nurse it home. I knew then we would miss the bombs he was carrying.
A Focke-Wulf flew through our formation and "Dear John"'s ball gunner filled his plane full of holes. He must of killed the pilot because it nosed over and dove out of control.
As we got within minutes of the target, "Dear John" spun out of formation and flipped over. My crew saw only 4 chutes open. All I could hear was the gunners yelling over the intercom. As we got to the target "Redman" slowly flew by me and to the right, then I could see his tail was gone just blown off. I got the chance to count 6 chutes before he dove under me. The ball gunner saw one more chute open out of the bomb bay. Then it really started to become intense.
The flak really started up. Everybody was getting hit. The tailgunner said the krauts were following us into the Flak. Captain Fisher and his P-51 was shooting up the last Me-410 when he got hit by AA. The gunner reported seeing his mustang just fold up in flight. It was too bad because he was a brave man.
When we got over the target we let go of our payload. We did a considerable amount of damage. There was smoke everywhere. We had really creamed them. As we flew for home I noticed that only 2 planes out of our flight made it through. When we finally landed we were beat. We had 10 crewmen wounded out of the remaining 8 B-1 7's. The next day a British Recon flight of Mosquitoes reported that the factory we bombed was still operating...
We would have to go back ......